When you’re finally sick of radio stations spewing the same rehashed garbage at you, it may be time to check out the 10 best indie pop songs. Good indie pop keeps the essence of what hits your ears nicely, but adds interesting and sometimes experimental musical twists. The following songs all do so expertly.
- “11th Dimension” – Julian Casablancas. The indie music community was taken by surprise in 2009 when indie rock band The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas came out with a dance pop album. People were even more surprised to find out that it was really good. “11th Dimension”, its lead single, has a fantastic sample and a great upbeat pop sound that fits well with Casablancas’ rough around the edges style.
- “1901” – Phoenix. French indie band Phoenix had one of the best pop albums of the decade with “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”. You may have heard its lead single “1901” in Cadillac’s latest commercials. But Phoenix are no sell outs, as “1901”’s heavily electronic eccentricities add quite a bit to what would otherwise already be a good straightforward pop song.
- “Campus” – Vampire Weekend. Vampire Weekends is known for combining African rhythm, Western pop, and even a few classical accents in their brand of indie pop. “Campus”, an instant college classic, is arguably the peak of this unique mix of musical styles.
- “[Untitled]” – Interpol. Indie rock band Interpol struck critical acclaim and a huge spike in popularity with their early 2000’s album “Turn on the Bright Light”. Its most famous song, “[Untitled]” is an epic one, to say the least. It slowly comes in with tremolo picked guitars and a pulse pounding rhythm section, culminating in a musical experience about as immense as pop can get.
- “Hard to Explain” – The Strokes. The Strokes, an indie post-punk and rock group out of New York, made their name with the fantastic album “Is This It?” early on in the decade. Though usually on the rock side of the spectrum, the song “Hard to Explain” brings in a more catchy sound that manages to maintain The Strokes’ signature edge.
- “Back in Your Head” – Tegan and Sara. Tegan and Sara are a couple of twins who just happen to be the lead musicians in a great indie band. Their hit in the indie community, “Back in Your Head”, is power pop personified. It’s got a great opening piano lick that will have you hooked from the beginning.
- “Dominos” – The Big Pink. Indie electronic group The Big Pink made a big splash in 2009 with “Dominos”. A rich, lush electro-pop song about being a player, “Dominos” is immediately catchy. It’s mainstream music minus the mainstream.
- “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” – Arcade Fire. This band rocked the indie music world with their album “Funeral”. Its track list was full of sweeping, epic anthems and enthralled the music scene at the time. “Neighborhood #3”, one of its most affecting songs, deserves to be blasted at least once through every pair of headphones.
- “Drunk Girls” – LCD Soundsystem. James Murphy, better known as indie dance artist LCD Soundsystem, is renowned for making some awesome and very danceable pop music. “Drunk Girls” takes a tongue-in-cheek point of view towards young people partying and hooking up. Whether poking fun at young love or not, “Drunk Girls’” awesome beat and hilarious lyrics make it a perfect party song.
- “Summertime Clothes” – Animal Collective. Animal Collective is the last band you’d expect to make a great song, as they are heavily experimental. But “Summertime Clothes” is exactly that. Its mix of rich instrumentation and extremely catchy hooks- along with a few quirks-is a perfect indie pop formula.
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